What are soft skills?
Soft skills, employability skills, job-readiness skills, emotional intelligence… there are many phrases used to describe these skills, but they all mean one thing: they are the personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. They’re considered the “bedside manner” of the workplace.
We’ve heard others say, and we agree – hard skills might get you in the door for an interview, but soft skills will help you get, and keep, a job. And most importantly, that concept applies for ANY job – soft skills are vital for all career paths.
What makes them so vital?
According to a 2016 PayScale survey of more than 60,000 managers and 14,000 recent graduates:
- 46% of managers said young workers would do well to hone their communication skills
- 44% of managers reported a lack of leadership qualities.
- 36% reported lower-than-needed interpersonal and teamwork skills.
- 60% of managers claim the new graduates they see taking jobs within their organizations do not have the critical thinking and problem-solving skills they feel are necessary for the job.
- 57% of manager say they look for a candidate that is organized and can manage multiple projects.
Research like this can be found everywhere – and what’s more, educators are seeing it firsthand.
So what can you do to help your students learn these vital skills? You may not know it, but you are already teaching soft skills all the time – it might simply be a matter of emphasizing particular skills, adding time for reflection, etc. Here are 15 ways that you can address soft skill development in your classroom, building on what you’re already doing and incorporating new ideas, to help your students develop those important job-readiness skills no matter what pathway they’re on.
15 ways to teach soft skills in your CTE classroom
- Keep soft skills top of mind!
- Begin each class with a handshake
- Role play workplace scenarios
- Practice professionalism on a daily basis
- Implement networking activities
- Make intentional assignment tweaks
- Regularly assign collaborative work
- Remember to reflect
- Informal and formal oral speaking opportunities
- Use small talk conversation cards
- Practice giving and receiving feedback
- Use video diaries
- Coordinate mock interviews
- Use student planners
- Consider the RealCareer™ Employability Skills Program
Watch the webinar below for more details on these 15 key tips for incorporating soft skills in your classroom: